Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is one of the league’s best at distributing the puck. Playing against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Backstrom authored one of his most brilliant passes ever. Or maybe it was a redirect. I’m not even sure what to call this; it was just subtle and awesome.
Notice how the puck goes right onto John Carlson‘s stick even though Backstrom is not even looking at him. Like, did Backstrom guess or somehow know Carlson was there? Does Nicky have eyes in the back of his head? Is that a Swedish thing?
Here’s a zoomed-out look.
“How about Nick Backstrom just touching the puck with the heel of his stick?” Craig Laughlin said during the replay. “He feels Carlson behind him. Here comes that lag drop pass. Goes right to Carlson sneaking in. That’s wonderful hockey and presence.”
Sometimes beautiful passes don’t result in goals. Ben Bishop saved the shot from John Carlson with his mask. Still, this was everything you love in a good dish: sneaky and perfectly placed.
Earlier in the season, Backstrom made one of the best sauce passes I have ever seen in my life too.
Carlson actually scored on that one.
Because Backstrom shies away from the limelight, sometimes we don’t appreciate his brilliance enough. On Tuesday he played inspired hockey and made the world-class plays that we’d expect from the league’s best-kept secret.
GIF by @myregularface
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